Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Confessions of a Lapsed Bookworm

Like many citizens of Blogsylvania, I spent a good portion of my childhood reading. I knew my elementary school library inside out and borrowed the maximum allotted number of books each day, read them, and returned then in the morning. I read when I was supposed to read and also many, many times when I should have been doing something else. To this day, I startle and close the book guiltily if someone comes into the room while I am reading, because I was busted so often.

So, it’s been a strange last year, reading very little new fiction. My to-read shelf has grown with things I don’t want to miss, but with all energies focused on staying healthy during the pregnancy and after, I haven’t felt able to invest my heart in the welfare of fictional characters. I also realize that a lot of my reading time is now spent reading blogs instead.

There’s one novel I’d been holding for months, knowing that it was likely an emotionally wrenching read, and I was finally eager to tackle it over the weekend. Back in the 80’s the author, Ellen Emerson White, wrote a set of YA books about the daughter of a female US president, and she followed up last year with an adult-targeted book covering the now-college freshman girl as she struggles to recover from injuries resulting from her abduction and escape in the earlier books. It was stunning and thought-provoking and kept me up an extra hour and a half last night to finish the last of the 700 pages.

When you’re getting up really early to feed a baby, losing 90 minutes can be fatal. Ouch. The book was worth it, but I think I need a breather again before I pick up another book. I’m not good with pacing – as a fast reader, if I like something, I will inhale it over a day or two, and I don’t think my sleep-state can handle the aftermath!

It’s strange to not be reading multiple books per week any more, but I suppose that’ll be another hobby I pick up again someday in the future. One thing I did notice was how one-directional print reading is. When reading blogs, readers participate in the conversation – commenting on posts, seeing what other said about it, and feeling like part of a community.

While reading and after finishing Long May She Reign, I wanted to talk about it, and fortunately was able to track down my sister, who loaned her copy to me in the first place. More and more authors and their publishers are starting online forums for their readers, and I understand why. Print will survive and thrive, but it’ll do better supported by online communities.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked it! EEW rocks. I'm the same--I hesitated on starting Eclipse last night because I was afraid it would ruin my sleep.

4th B

Mayberry said...

It's almost time to pick a new crop of books for my (IRL) book club -- so exciting!

Mamacita Tina said...

I have a shaky stack of books on my nightstand that I keep wanting to tackle. Taking time to relax with a book is such a luxury these days, and I'm ok with waiting. The day will come all too soon when the kids no longer want to play with me.